John Gilchrist | 3 August 2021 | 10 min read
In the previous two articles (part 1 & part 2) it was shown that several aspects of Jesus’ life is confirmed in both the Qur’an and the Bible: His virgin birth, His sinlessness, His ascension, and His second coming.
In this article we will explore some of the theological explanations for these aspects of Jesus’ life. Ultimately it is only in the Bible where we see the reasons for the uniqueness of the person of Jesus Christ.
The Reasons for the Uniqueness of Jesus
Jesus is the Son of God.
The Virgin-Birth of Jesus. If Jesus is the Son of God, it is necessary that He be born of a virgin-woman if He comes in the likeness of men. To be the Son of God He must have existed from all eternity. Therefore He could not have been born of a human father if He is the Son of God, when He became man. The life of the human race is in the male seed – Jesus could not be procreated by means of a human father if He is the Son of God. Any man born of a human father must be man and man alone. Only God can be the Father of the Son of God.
This explains the necessity of the virgin-birth and gives the reason for it. At last, we see the significance of the virgin-birth. The necessity for it is now realized. Jesus had to be born of a virgin-woman if He is the Son of God and accordingly existed before becoming man. The reason for the exceptional birth of Jesus is also made clear by this fact as well as the necessity for it. He was born in this unique way by the special involvement and intervention of God because He is the Son of God. This is why God has caused all other men to come into the world by natural means but was especially involved in the birth of Jesus. All other men are made of the same dust Adam was created out of, but Jesus was conceived solely by the Spirit of God – because He is the Son of God. This explains why He had this unique beginning to His life on earth – because He himself is unique in that He is the Son of God. This is indeed what the angel told Mary when he came to explain the miraculous conception:
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High… therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”
The Sinlessness of Jesus. No Christian would believe that Jesus is the Son of God if He had ever sinned against God. It is essential that He be sinless if He is the Son of God for, if the Father and the Son are one as Jesus said they are, the Son must always do the will of His Father. And this we always find Him so doing, as it is put in the following words:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.’”
If He is the Son of God, He must be one with the Father. Therefore He could do nothing of His own accord, for if He did anything independently and of His own accord, He would no longer be one with the Father, nor would He be doing what the Father does – so He would not be the Son of God. One who is always doing the absolute will of God cannot sin against Him. So, we see why it is absolutely necessary that Jesus had to be sinless if He is the Son of God – because the Son of God can only be doing the will of His Father at all times. Jesus said: “I always do what is pleasing to him.”
So, we see why Jesus is the only man who is faultless and without sin. Ordinary men do things of their own accord, but the Son of God can only do the will of His Father in heaven.
The Ascension of Jesus. If Jesus had returned to dust like all other men naturally do, no Christian would believe that He is the Son of God. The Son surely must have His home in heaven. Therefore, if He became man, He could not naturally go the way of all men but must ultimately return to heaven. If Jesus is the Son of God, His ascension to heaven is a necessity and also a fundamental feature required to prove the point.
We are seeing that the unique features of the life of Jesus not only, with one accord, support the belief that He is the Son of God, but are totally necessary features in His life if this belief is to be proved true. But surely it is also becoming clear that the very presence of these unique features – necessary only if He is the Son of God – imposes on our minds the realization that He is indeed the Son of God. These unique features of necessity imply that the man they point to must possess the only uniqueness that can possibly make these features necessary – He must be the Son of God.
The Qur’an, to make known to our finite minds and give us some understanding of God’s glory, often tells us of the throne on which God sits. This metaphorical language makes us aware of the royal sovereignty that God enjoys over the universe. The Bible makes the same point, but to give us a concrete understanding of the status of Jesus in heaven, the Bible says in similar language that He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God:
- “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.”
- “God accomplished His great might in Christ when He raised him from the dead and made Him sit at His right hand in the heavenly places.”
- “Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven.”
This is not to be taken hyper-literally but purely in the sense that the Qur’an speaks of the throne of God. In both the Qur’an and the Bible, the expression reveals the regal authority God has over the universe and the Bible speaks of Jesus at the right hand of the throne to express the relationship and status He enjoys in heaven with God the Father.
In most kingdoms in Biblical times every person had to bow before the King on his throne – his son alone being excepted. His wife, his daughters, lords, princes, officers, and subjects had to bow before him on his throne and acknowledge his rule. The king’s son, however, did not do so – he stood or sat at the right hand of the throne. The reason for this is surely obvious – he is the heir to the throne. The father’s throne is his also. This is why the Bible says Jesus is at the right hand of the throne of God and sometimes speaks of it as his throne. As a son was in those days to his father the King, so is Jesus towards His Father in heaven. He ascended to heaven to be in God’s own glorious presence (as we have seen from both the Qur’an and the Bible) because He is the Son of God. The Qur’an speaks of the throne of God – the rightful place of Jesus in heaven is at the right hand of Him who sits upon it.
The Second Coming of Jesus. Who but the Son of God could bring the judgment of God? This alone explains the second coming of Jesus. The Son of God, by becoming man, has become the obvious medium of the judgment of God for two reasons. Firstly, He has revealed God to men. The Qur’an only professes to reveal the will and attributes of God. Jesus, however, claimed to reveal God Himself to men. The following verses make this clear:
- “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
- “He who sees me sees him who sent me.”
- ″He who has seen me has seen the Father.”
Secondly, He has brought men face-to-face with God. It is fitting, therefore, that, having become a man, the Son of God should become the medium of the judgment of God to be revealed at the last time:
“For as the Father has life in himself so he has granted the Son to have life in himself also, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.”
This alone explains the second coming, gives a reason for it, and makes it necessary. Thus, the second coming also harmonizes with the uniqueness of Jesus as the Son of God. He stands for God’s judgment in heaven as the one who reveals God to men and having become a man, is fitly appointed to call them to judgment.
So we see that all the unique features in the life of Jesus owe their necessity and reality to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. Indeed, the fulsome existence of all these features demands the conclusion that He is the Son of God. If any one of them was lacking, Christian belief would fall to the ground. But in the Bible every crucial circumstance exists to support the doctrine that He is indeed the Son of God.
What is fascinating, however, is that the Qur’an admits all these unique features! While denying that Jesus is the Son of God, by the features it admits, it is tacitly and unreservedly implying that He is indeed the Son of God. For there is nothing in the Qur’an on the features of the life of Jesus that can be brought as evidence against the theory that He is the Son of God. For every feature that it allows implies that He is. We can draw only one conclusion – Jesus is unique in the Qur’an and the Bible because He is the Son of God. Even though He was a man on earth, everything about Him places Him ultimately on the level of deity rather than on the level of humanity.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
We have seen to some extent why Jesus is coming a second time to earth, but we are at this stage constrained to enquire why He ever came from his heavenly abode the first time to dwell among men. Why did the Son of God become the unique man Jesus? Whenever God wished to send a message to mankind, He raised up prophets. Why then did He send His Son? Why did the eternally holy Son of God come down to live among sinful men in a mass of corrupt humanity? The adjectives in that question give the answer. Jesus was a unique man – He came to earth because He had a unique mission to fulfil.
God had given laws, messages, covenants, warnings and exhortations to men in times past through the prophets, but none of these helped to turn the human race from its wickedness and love of sin. No matter what God sent, men continued to sin. When He told the Israelites to have no other God but Himself, they promptly made a golden calf and worshiped it. All men sinned because they were sinners. Sin is an integral part of human nature – no man is free from its power. As Jesus himself said, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”
Within the body of flesh that weighs the human soul down is every fountain of lust, greed, pride, envy, malice, and all manner of iniquity. From the head to the foot the human body is the breeding ground and playground of sin. Every sinful thought, word, and deed has its source within man and not within the world in which he lives. It is his own evil heart that makes him stray after sinful passions. The temptations of the flesh, the love of money, and the pride of life are rooted in men because sin has a vicious control within which it makes it impossible for men to follow God in sinless and perfect purity. Neither the law of God on tablets of stone nor the commands He gave through the prophets could overcome the basic tendency in us to commit sin and to follow its impulses.
Jesus came down to earth from heaven to do what the law and the prophets could not do. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
The pure and sinless Son of God took on human flesh with all the power of God’s holiness that He possessed without measure. This ensured that the coming battle between the Son of God and sin in the flesh could only result in victory for the former. Jesus came “in the likeness of sinful flesh” – that is, He took on the very thing that has been in all ages the fountainhead of sin and wickedness – the human body.
He did not conquer it from without – He entered it from within. For centuries sin had found an irresistible spring in the human body for the exercise of its designs and purposes. Jesus, as it were, met sin in its own lair. He went right into its camp and fortress. He became man and assumed a body which in all other men had fallen victim to the power of sin.
Jesus allowed that power to try its worst on him. He went into the desert and fasted for forty days and nights without any food or water until He was emaciated from hunger. The evil one fired his deadliest darts of sin at Jesus. The Spirit of God had made stones His companions. Satan tempted Him to disobey God and satisfy the hunger of His flesh by turning them into loaves of bread. Jesus refused this.
God had made the wilderness His domicile – Satan offered Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment, that for which emperors of many nations have striven without success. By the power He possessed, Jesus could conquer them all. He needed only to listen to Satan as other men do rather than to his Father who had another kingdom prepared for Him. Jesus duly resisted and defied this temptation as well.
God had made Him the loneliest man on earth in that wilderness – Satan offered Him the homage of all peoples if He would only seek their obeisance for Himself alone against His Father’s will. Jesus rejected this. He did not want men to honour Him according to the senses of human pride such as Satan was offering Him. He did not wish to be a ruler after the order of this world – a companion of kings who have achieved fame and prestige solely because they have sought the praise of men rather than the praise of God which Jesus always sought. He was not prepared to go the way of so many before Him by seeking to rule the earth according to His own devices, rather than humbly submit to God in total faithfulness.
He “condemned sin in the flesh.” No human body at that moment was, by its emaciation, less inclined to resist the power of sin. But Jesus destroyed the power of sin in its own lair and all that remained was to pass on the fruit of his victory to the captives of sin whom He had come to liberate.
But to do this He had to not only suffer the fullest temptation of sin but also its direst consequences. He voluntarily went to the cross to achieve this. God will vent his full wrath against sin. The human body is the only place it will be found, and it was accordingly in a human body that Jesus endured on behalf of all men everywhere on the cross the full consequence of sin. He entered its deepest chamber when He died. Death is the worst effect of sin. Jesus drank its dregs to the last to obtain an absolute triumph over it. When He was crucified He endured the wrath of God against sin and when He died He paid its penalty once for all.
When He rose from the dead three days later, He had once for all gained a glorious and inestimable victory over God’s greatest foe. When He ascended on high, He sent down the Spirit of God to His disciples so that they might share the full spoils of his victory.
He had made it possible for men to be reconciled to God, to be forgiven of their sins, and to obtain power within their weak bodies to live triumphantly by the indwelling strength of the Spirit of God within them. He had made it possible for men to walk by the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ, to be fully controlled by it, and so fulfil the requirement of God’s law that men should love Him with all their hearts, souls, and minds. He had opened the door so that all men could be delivered of their sinful tendencies and become partakers of the divine holiness and walk in the ways of righteousness.
The Glory of Jesus in the Bible
Jesus came into this world the first time to become like us in every respect so that he might free us from the evil that besets us. By emptying himself of the glory which he has had with the Father from all eternity, he became a man like us and looked so much like a man and nothing else during his period of voluntary condescension on earth that millions of people to this day think he was nothing more than a man. But Jesus will come a second time and this time the roles will be reversed. He will come as he really is with all his glory and the radiance of his majesty will make the sun seem like a faint flicker in comparison. As he said of his coming:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
Every other form of light will fail and pass away when He is revealed in all his resplendent glory. But as He came into the world the first time to be made like us, so He will come a second time to make all his true followers just like himself. When He appears from heaven on that day in all his glory, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father”.
Then every vestige of sin will be torn away and He will raise His own in glorious, sinless bodies. As He in His immeasurable love for sinners took all our evil deeds and sin upon Himself when He died on the cross, so by His inestimable grace and love He will give us His righteousness and sinlessness in its place.
This man Jesus is unique because He is unique in His love, glory, holiness, righteousness and eternal majesty. He is the eternal Son of God and He showed us how much He loved us, and what are the immeasurable riches of His grace and kindness towards us, when He died on the cross for our sins. What will you do with this unique man Jesus? Will you fall at his feet in awesome wonder at his honour and grace, or will you fall under his feet on that Day when God’s judgment is revealed and His enemies are trampled underfoot? Will you choose to believe in the Son of God and find eternal life in His name, or will you continue to reject Him in his resplendent glory and the salvation He is offering you and find instead that the wrath of God rests upon you?
Geisler, Norman L., & Saleeb, Abdul. Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002.
Gilchrist, John. The Qur’an and the Historical Jesus. South Africa: Christian Resource Ministries, 2015.
Janosik, Daniel. The Guide to Answering Islam: What Every Christian Needs to Know About Islam and the Rise of Radical Islam. Cambridge: Christian Publishing House, 2019.
White, James R. What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2013.
The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the employees and members of Ratio Christi South Africa.
 Luke 1:32 & 35.
 See John 10:30.
 John 5:19.
 John 8:29.
 Surahs 10:4, 7:54, 13:2, etc.
 Acts 7:56.
 Ephesians 1:20.
 Hebrews 8:1.
 See Hebrews 1:8 and Revelation 3:21.
 Matthew 11:27.
 John 12:45.
 John 14:9.
 John 5:26-27.
 John 8:34.
 See Romans 8:3-4.
 Matthew 24:29-30.
 Matthew 13:43.